Can Farmers Really Be Great Clients?

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The following is an editorial by Paul Dunn, co-founder of Results Accountants' Systems.

As we look around the world at great accounting practices (what we've called "the Practices of the New Millennium") one constant theme is the selection of clients.

It's critical, we're often told, to select clients who you like, clients who are profitable, clients who are open to suggestions, clients who are willing to listen and so on. And farmers feature infrequently in that list for many practices. They are often the clients you have to have but would prefer not to have.

When it comes to Business Development, farmers are left until after you've tried your skills with other clients. After all, farmers tend to have fixed, single markets and there's little you can do.

Or is there?

Like many other industry sectors, farming has been going through rationalization where the size needed to be financially successful has increased or where new farming enterprises or techniques are needed. This requires strategic planning and capital for acquisition of more property or better farming technologies.

Farmers need help with these processes as much as any other business person. The number of potential clients in your client list may be less than other sectors but the good ones have the same needs as any business.

They're interested in knowing::

  • How can we improve farm profitability?
  • How can we create a management control system {enterprise and farm budgets, monitoring, and management meetings}?
  • How can we structure our affairs to minimize our taxation liability and manage the cash flow consequences?
  • How can we create off-farm investment for education, vacations and retirement?
  • How can we manage our business risk?
  • How can we plan for and manage our farm succession?
  • How can we computerize and administer efficiently?
  • How can we manage our farm financing most effectively?

Many accountants have taken this broader approach to helping their rural clients and built solid reputations as a result. They then benefit from referrals of similar “A” class clients and create an excellent client base of profitable farmers.

Most significantly, the ‘switched on' practices are forming alliances with specialist rural scientists and advisors to help with regional improvements. One practice we know even has a dial-in service for farm produce prices updated each day. This whole process can lead to exciting work and considerable job satisfaction.

So, while farmers may not be on the top of the list, they can be great Business Development clients. All it takes is time, sitting them down and asking a few key questions.

Results Accountants' Systems improves the profitability and performance of Accounting Firms around the world. Beginning with its revolutionary Accountants Boot Camp experience, RAS enables CPA firms to develop and deliver practice-proven consulting and advisory services while creating dynamic, stimulating professional environments. RAS systems and support provide firms with the products and the people that differentiate them from the competition. For information on the latest tools and resources to improve your firm's performance, call Results Accountants' Systems at 1 800 800 5601, or visit the RAS website at

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